Riz Ahmed

Riz Ahmed Headshot

Actor • Rapper • Musician • Activist

Birth Date: December 1, 1982

Age: 41 years old

Birth Place: Wembley, London, England, UK

British Pakistani actor Riz Ahmed is political, passionate and undeniably talented. The native Londoner first roamed the posh halls of Oxford as a student of philosophy and politics before training at the University of London's Central School of Speech and Drama. Under the alias Riz MC, he released the satirical rap single "Post 9/11 Blues" in 2006, the same year he made his film debut as Guantanamo Bay detainee Shafiq Rasul in "The Road to Guantanamo." Keenly aware of his Pakistani heritage, Ahmed nevertheless sought out a diverse array of roles. He played the title drug dealer in "Shifty" (2008); a wanna-be suicide bomber in the terrorist satire "Four Lions" (2010); and a complex, controlling hotelier in "Trishna" (2011). But Ahmed wasn't content confining his creativity to just the screen. He parlayed "Post 9/11 Blues" into a successful career as Riz MC, which saw him honored as a BBC Introducing artist four years before the release of his 2011 album, MICroscope. His portrayal of a tough council estate drug dealer in "Ill Manors" (2012) capped off a string of roles that found the intelligent, articulate actor bring his explosive talent to new heights.

Ahmed's parents emigrated from Pakistan to Britain in the 1970s, and gave Riz (short for Rizwan) and his brother and sister a well-to-do upbringing. After attending the Merchant Taylor's School on a scholarship, Ahmed followed his interest in politics and economics to Christ Church, Oxford, where he threw philosophy into the mix. His lifelong love of and rap battling and jungle music (a uniquely British genre of electronic music that preceded drum and bass) converged in the form of Riz MC, under which he released the 2006 rap parody "Post 9/11 Blues." That same year he signed onto Michael Winterbottom's "The Road to Guantanamo" as one of the Tipton Three, a trio of Britons illegally detained in the Cuban prison for over two years. After taking a detour into the zombie apocalypse in the darkly clever mini-series "Dead Set" (E4, 2008), Ahmed gave a desperate portrayal of the eponymous crack cocaine dealer in "Shifty," for which he was later nominated for a British Independent Film Award. Two years later Ahmed landed one of his most recognized roles to date in "Four Lions," a black comedy centered on the clumsy antics of would-be terrorist Omar (Ahmed) and his gang of dim-witted friends. At the same time he was garnering acclaim for his deeply-felt performance as Omar, Ahmed was busy designing an immersive, surveillance-themed website tied to the release of MICroscope, and signing papers to join the Brighton-based record label Tru Thoughts. The following year he reunited with "Guantanamo" director Michael Winterbottom in "Trishna," where he dove into the complicated role of Jay, whose increasingly vicious behavior cements the film's tragic ending. In 2012 the shape-shifting actor traded the lush landscapes of "Trishna" for the gritty council estate of "Ill Manors" and the plush Wall St. offices of "The Reluctant Fundamentalist."

Credits

Oscars 2023: Highlights

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2023

Oscar Nominated Short Films 2022: Live Action

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2023

NimonaStream

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Knight Ballister Boldheart
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2023
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FingernailsStream

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2023
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Flee

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2021
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Flee - English Version

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You Resemble Me

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Beyond the CanvasStream

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2020

Mogul Mowgli

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Mogul Mowgli

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2020

The Long Goodbye

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2020

The Lateish Show with Mo Gilligan

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2019

The Edit

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Sound of MetalStream

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2018

Riz Ahmed: Road to Englistan

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The Night Of: Part 1 FREE

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Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter

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Variety Studio: Actors on Actors

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The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

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NightcrawlerStream

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Out of Darkness

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Closed Circuit

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Droga do Guantanamo

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2012

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2012
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CBS This Morning

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Ill Manors

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

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LIVE with Kelly

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2011

The Jonathan Ross ShowStream

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Trishna

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2011

Black Gold

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2011

Centurion

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2009

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2009

Four LionsStream

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2009
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Dead Set

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Wired

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Shifty

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The Graham Norton ShowStream

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Taking Liberties

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Britz

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The One Show

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Banglatown Banquet

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2006

The Road to Guantanamo

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Entertainment Tonight Canada

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2003

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Good Morning America

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News aboutRiz Ahmed